A lot of major brands on their social media feeds are sort of like your father, in that they desperately want to fit in with you and go to the mall with you and your friends later, if that’s okay. Because everybody wants to feel like they’re still hip and with it, and that goes especially for major media conglomerates. Corporations have feelings too, you know. They used to be with it. Then they “changed what it was, and now what they’re with isn’t it, and what’s it seems weird and scary to them.” That’s a Simpson’s reference. Are the Simpsons still cool?
Thus the situation that Good Morning America recently found itself in on its Twitter feed. On June 22, GMA (which is what they would like you to call them, because initials are way rad), in the midst of celebrating National Selfie Day by posting somewhere in the range of 12,000 selfies of their staff, each more desperate than the last, slipped in a poll of all their followers. What they wanted to know was, hey, kids, you know the memes? The memes on the internet that you like so much? Which one’s your favorite, huh? Which one do you like the best? And they could’ve left it at that and depended on their readers to just tell them what meme they liked. But no. GMA wanted to know which of their carefully cultivated list of popular memes was their favorite. And therein lies trouble.
So the first option was the most recent, as in it’d just happened two days prior to the tweet. #CryingLeBron. Which is just a picture of LeBron James crying in joy after having led the Cleveland Cavaliers to victory in the NBA Finals. Which is a meme now, I guess? More it’s just a picture of a man crying. You see anyone tweet that picture in the last week? Yeah, me neither.
And really, it’s a sort of a takeoff of a legitimate meme, which is what’s also on the list – #CryingJordan. #CryingJordan is a picture of Michael Jordan crying profusely at his retirement ceremony in 2009. In the last year or so, it’s seen a lot of usage online to denote things that are sad, and that Michael Jordan would probably cry at. Which is a lot of things, because Michael Jordan has a preponderance of human emotions and is known to be a frequent crier. So this one, this is a legitimate meme. Good job on this one singular thing, GMA.
So look. What comes next? Something GMA is calling the #tealizard. So let’s just look at the corresponding image and … say, isn’t that a picture of Kermit the Frog? Drinking tea? They, um, they do know who Kermit the Frog is, at Good Morning America? It seems like they ought to.
But yeah. #tealizard. That’s what they called Kermit the Frog drinking a tea. Kermit the FROG. Frogs are not lizards. That’s not even the right species. Though we will grant you, that sucker is legitimately drinking tea. Gotta give them that one. Nailed that part.
So naturally, GMA caught all kinds of mockery on the web for misidentifying your sixth favorite Muppet (behind #angerpig, #jaylenobear, #pianoplayingdog, #hooknosedweirdomarriedtoachicken and #nordicchefwithmanhands) as a #tealizard. But let’s not limit ourselves here. Not when there’s other low-hanging fruit (the most delicious fruit of all) to be picked. Namely, #smocking.
#smocking. I’ll need some help here. What is this? Yes, based on the picture, it’s clearly based on some poorly dressed imitation of Jim Carrey in The Mask. But…what else? Why is it spelled smocking? It’s supposed to be “smoking”? That’s the line from the movie, but why is it misspelled? Who is that a picture of? It’s not Jim Carrey. Did anyone anywhere ever once use the #smocking meme prior to GMA asking if it was everybody’s all-time favorite? WHY IS MY BRAIN BLEEDING?
I did some research, and as near as I can tell, somebody at GMA is #smocking something. Because most recorded usages of #smocking before GMA referencing it are merely potheads misspelling the word smoking. So maybe that’s what GMA did? Screwed up on a second thing in a single tweet? But I also didn’t really find anything enlightening searching for #smoking, #smokin or #smooookinnnn, so what am I to take from this? Why did GMA invent a meme and then ask everyone they knew if it was one of the greatest of all time? Is GMA’s Twitter feed being operated by a semi-professional chimpanzee, per chance? The answer to that is probably.
So there you go. If you happen to be a popular national brand like Good Morning America, and you wake up one day thinking to yourself, “What up, kids? What’s the deal-io? What’s the haps? Let’s jive, daddy-o,” just go back to bed. Please stop trying to convince anyone that you are cool. You are not cool. You are the social media manager for a morning show. Just stick to the news. Let the kids have their memes. Maybe just have yourself a nice glass of tea. It can be very calming, I’m told.
Erik Hagen is the senior copywriter at KK BOLD, and if this blog was a meme, it’d involve Patrick Stewart extending a hand toward the camera with a WTH expression on his face.